Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

FTMN: The Internal Logic Of A Late Shift

From The Muse's Notebook, with William S. Sumpter

The Internal Logic Of A Late Shift

There is no reason, but sometimes it is good to hear what other people do in their jobs in front of computers. I start at four in the afternoon by saying hello and sit with my back to the rest of the room.

I sit at a corner between two nice women and there is a bit of banter about things like how horrible it is to go to the dentist.

This leads on to listening to stories over dinner upstairs in the cafeteria about how you picked up your brother from the Albert St dentist when he was high on some knockout drug after having his wisdom teeth pulled out.

And because he was talking gibberish and meowing at the cat, which happened to be in the car, and sending odd drops of red blood splashing onto his best white shirt you placed a black sock from the floor of the car into your brother’s bleeding mouth. Where it hung like a dog’s panting tongue.

Or, how your car caught on fire with everything you ever owned in it, except your camera, 400m from a volunteer fire station near Rotorua and it took the engines 20 minutes to arrive, without any water, and a patch of melted distributor was glued to the road for five years before the whole sorry incident was sealed over with fresh bitumen.

There is also work to do, so you start at one end and finish at the other, processing news.

The first one and a half and the last two and a half hours involve looking through wire stories from Radio New Zealand, Reuters and AAP and turning 13 of them each into three sentences for page 101 on the teletext system (the world news page).

You can sit on your couch and read the world news as reduced by our sleight of hand to things like:

Stretcher after stretcher bearing bodies.

Seven dead, 50 injured in Jerusalem bomb blast.

Suspected suicide bomber nowhere to be seen.

A crime in which you disappear the moment your illegality is expressed.

It is a funny job, the rest of the time we have to rewrite the words spoken by Richard Long, Judy Bailey and the happy journalists of Television New Zealand. I'm learning their tricks.

You never say New Zealand Discus Thrower if you can say Kiwi Discus Thrower but what you really say is 'Our Queen Bea'.

A funny thing happened in the news today when Judy said that Canterbury University scientists were saving the native frog from croaking. The native frog is the only frog in the world that can't croak. That is why they are saving it. Because it is an old relic of an amphibian which arrived here five million years ago just after learning how to hop, and landed with great timing as our varied islands broke gracefully away from Gondwanaland waving, ka kite ano.

We have two species of amphibious reptiles and two species of bats, one species of which was on the verge of giving up flight and fluttering into a ground dwelling species of bounding rodent just before people and our animalian entourage arrived to encourage it back up into the nocturnal sky.

Such is the internal logic of the late shift, but who can be sure of anything, other frogs may not croak.

Finally, to get a proper grip on what we do in our job until midnight strikes, take this simple sentence from the Government’s press release on Wednesday which accompanied two beautiful pictures of a colourful boat full of mad chancers who don’t care if they do drown because they are trying to get to either our paradise or god’s, both have good reputations and from one you can feed your family.

“The information we have is that there are 56 male Sri Lankans on a grossly overloaded fibreglass boat which is only 60 feet long…”

Give it a kick:

“The only grossly overloaded information which we have is that there are fifty-six 60 foot long male Sri Lankans on a fibreglass boat.”

And that is that, as Russ would say, G’bye.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 



Peter Dunne: What Has Happened To Tolerance?

An unpleasant aspect of our current national character has come to light in recent times. When it comes right down to it, no matter what our pretences to the contrary, tolerance for a different point of view, or approach to things, is not a commodity in great supply at present, right across the political spectrum... More>>

Keith Rankin: Inflation Fears, Bullshit Costs, And Inappropriate Policy

It is true that New Zealand – and the rest of the world – now faces substantial inflation pressure. As the 2020s unfold, the biggest macroeconomic story – as in the 1920s after World War 1 – is likely to be about how we address these pressures... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: When Football Did Not Come Home

They were in with a shot. The English team, deliriously floating on chants of Football’s Coming Home, had made it to their first major tournament final since 1966. The UEFA European Football Championship would be decided at Wembley against an Italian side unblemished by defeat since September 2018... More>>


Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>




Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why The J&J Vaccine Isn’t An Ideal Back-up Option, And Haiti

The news that Medsafe has given approval to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine means the government is finally putting a backup plan in place, after the series of close shaves it has been experiencing of late in getting its deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine... More>>